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The European Banking Authority (EBA), an EU agency that works to ensure effective and consistent prudential regulation and supervision across the European banking sector as a whole, was established several years before the European Central Bank (ECB) became responsible for the prudential supervision of Euro area banks. The ECB?s assumption of supervisory responsibilities has prompted searching questions about whether the EBA can continue to add value. The EBA could function as the bridge between the ECB and the supervisory authorities of the remaining Member States and, as such, could help to preserve the integrity of the Single Market. This article locates the EBA?s prospects for success in this role more in its ability to manage co-existence than to direct the conduct of supervision. The inquiry is placed within lines of governance scholarship that have moved away from simple ?command and control? models to more complex frameworks. The inquiry is supported by detailed examination of the EBA?s performance in key areas, including rule-making, interpretation, and stress testing. Close study reveals that the EBA cannot be expected significantly to prove its value on the supervisory side through its use of formal intervention powers because these powers are an uneasy fit with its hybrid structure and governance arrangements. This finding does not mean that the EBA is incapacitated: rather, the fact that its effectiveness relies more on facilitation than on threats suggests that the EBA is actually well-equipped to make progress in its unifying role.

Published in

University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research
Paper No. 40/2015

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